Recent MIT grad wants to help next generation of engineers get into MIT. AMA


I hope anyone reading this in New England area is safe as we hunker down for the bombogenesis this weekend. I am a recent MIT grad who is interested in helping the next generation of engineers get into MIT. AMA.

Why? I graduated from MIT Class of 2019 with degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Design, and Entrepreneurship and am currently working in the product design industry developing consumer products for customers across the globe. When I got into MIT, I also earned over a quarter million dollars in scholarship so I graduated debt-free. As the first from my family to pursue higher education, I had to figure a lot of things out on my own and it was one of the most challenging times of my life. I have some time now thanks to the snow storm so AMA.


Do you have any insights for someone who wishes to be an undergraduate business major? Any ways to stand-out in the application process?

My son just started 9th grade and loves Math (and is good at it). He wants to apply to MIT (his dream school) in a few years.

Besides working hard in school, what are some other things that can help him stand out and win an acceptance into MIT? He’s on the math team at school, but doesn’t do much else.


I hope you made it through the storm without any issues. :crossed_fingers:
Thank you for being willing to help the future engineers out here!

Could you estimate what the highest level of math the MIT students you knew reached in high school? What percentage do you think came in with <Calc AB; Calc AB; Calc BC; MVC; >MVC?

I am seeing many kids, not necessarily MIT bound, reaching MVC in my DC22’s class. This may be a recent phenomenon (or a local one), but I’m specifically wondering if you know of anyone who got in to MIT with AB or below and what level of math you would say the majority of students had reached.

Thanks again!

Hi, it’s awesome that your son is good at and enjoys math. I was like that too at his age and this is a good starting point.

When I think about my classmates at MIT, while a select few of them are world class in a specific field (ie representing their country in STEM competitions like IMO, iPho… and winning gold), the majority are just normal talented people (me). These people work hard, aim high, make the most of their resources, and benefit their community in some way. Since your child is early in his high school career, it is so important that you support (push a bit if needed) him in discovering what he is truly interested in. Maybe it’s academics, sports, community service, entrepreneurship… Don’t make him do something because YOU perceive it to be good. He has to seek it out for himself and only then you can support him in whatever way you can. I want to emphasize the word discovery here. Although he is good at math today, that does not mean he is passionate about math and should hyper focus on it. Explore different options and he will naturally gravitate toward things that he likes.

Personally, I had good grades but do not consider myself smart. My school was good but did not offer a ton of advance college level classes so I had to study on my own for those tests. I spent a lot of my free time volunteering, starting and running a student club, and supporting my family. In retrospect, I do not think my application to MIT was typical of the average applicant since I lacked any significant STEM achievements, but MIT accepted me anyways because they saw potential in me based on what I was able to do with the resources I had access to.

*I don’t know your son and this is different for everyone, but I hope this helps. Also sorry for the late reply. I am new to CC and did not see any replies for a few days. If you have any follow up questions, feel free to reply in this thread or DM me.

MIT does not publish statistics of highest level of math that students reach at entrance, but the most popular math class at MIT is 18.01, since most students have to take that. 18.01 is single variable calculus, and MIT makes students take this to set a level playing ground for students. For those who have already mastered this topic, they have the option of taking an Advanced Standing Exam (ASE) to test out of the class in order to advance to 18.02, which is multi-variable calculus. With that said, most students enter MIT with calc AB knowledge.

Personally, I took Calc BC and think I scored a 4. That was not good enough to place out of 18.01 when I started in 2014 and I did not choose to take the ASE since I didn’t want to study for it, so I took 18.01 freshman fall. It is very common to do this.

If your goal is to impress MIT, taking high level math is not necessarily a silver bullet, but developing in a well rounded way while discovering your passion will pay dividend down the road. Read my response above about the 2 types of people at MIT.

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Thank you so much for your response! Because MIT is looking for so much more than math achievement, it totally makes sense that an applicant should not look at high level math classes as a silver bullet to getting in.

However, since MIT doesn’t publish math level at entry, I’m trying to get a sense of what those stats would be if they were published. Would you say that most kids from your 2015/2016 admit class were like you and came into MIT with BC or above, only a rare few with AB, and no one with just pre-calc?

From what I’m observing in our metro area, MVC is becoming the new BC, and if true, that more 2021 first years would have reached MVC than BC. I have no way to know if this is true other than through my observation of what top candidates in my area are saying.

Since MIT does not publish math level at entry, it seems possible that kids are at a significant disadvantage if they don’t have BC (similar to the published sat that 0% got in with below a 700 on the math section of the SAT), and now in 2022, maybe even if they don’t have MVC.

Thanks for any insight you may have!

Can I still get into MIT without winning any national or international awards?

Hey! I’m thinking of majoring in biomedical engineering to mit. I wanted to know if you would think if it’s a disadvantage to have extracurriculars that aren’t science related. Most of my extracurriculars have to do with advocacy and service, but I only have 1 science-related ec: robotics. Also, do you think it would be a disadvantage to apply to mit as an engineering major with just precalc or just Calc 1? Lastly, what has been the most fulfilling experience that you’ve had at MIT? Thanks for the AMA!

I’m not the OP, but am crashing in to say: what IS a disadvantage is not doing basic homework. You think you want to go to MIT, but clearly you haven’t even investigated it enough to find the “What we look for” page on the MIT site. MIT is exceptionally upfront about what maters to them:

Also, with an AMA thread it is good manners to read the whole thread before asking your question, as it may have been asked and answered, which is the case with your Calc question. Speaking not as an MIT person but as an engineering person, having taken Calc 1 before starting in engineering is helpful to you: it lets you get a handle on how calculus works (which is a different way of thinking than the math you have done previously) before you hit it in college, where the pace is faster.

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Fyi - your alma mater sent 3 kids to MIT this year.